By Emma Krampera
IMPACT Community Health Service - Community Access Nurse (currently on maternity leave)

As the Community Access Nurse, I went on maternity leave from IMPACT Community Health Service at the beginning of March … a good couple of weeks before my due date.

I tossed up continuing work for a little longer but my OCD self, got the better of me and I decided I would use the time to "get ready"; all those last-minute things to make everything perfect before our first born arrived.

Plus, I was tired, and I had been given so much advice to take it easy and have some time for myself before my whole world changed.

My mum was due to join us from Brisbane the following week to "wait it out", as well as my partner Nick, who was still working.  We have no family nearby.

Maybe the beautiful life that was inside me knew something about what was to come because at that stage there were no restrictions, just caution. Our little girl decided to arrive two weeks early. That was two weeks before I had everything together, but, also before I would have felt unsafe delivering in a hospital, before visitors were not allowed, and just before restrictions were introduced.

We were lucky that my mum had come up before it was too late, but to this day Frankie (who is now nearly two months old) has still not met her aunties and uncles and cousins.

This pandemic has given a whole new spin on the "baby bubble" that occurs with a newborn. It seems bittersweet - how lucky we are to be able to remain protected and to protect our precious little girl, yet I can’t help but feel sad that Nick and I cannot share any of it with our families.

Being a nurse and knowing that isolation is a great risk factor for postpartum depression, this pandemic has the ability to wreak havoc on the already hormone-induced emotional anxiety that comes with being a new mother.

So far we have been to the doctor once (through the back door after waiting in the car until it was our turn), and more recently to my workplace, IMPACT Community Health Service (after airborne screening and strict infection control) to see our Child Health Nurse, Pip.

Thank goodness we have this service right at our doorstep.

I don’t know how I would feel having to go all the way to the next major centre for a "well" baby check!

We were lucky also that in the first few weeks, we were able to be home visited by IMPACT Community Health Service (with social distancing in place) for a weight check and general well-being check-in. How important this was ... not only for Frankie’s growth and development, but for my sanity too!

IMPACT Community Health Service has provided us with exactly what we needed as new baby and mum, right where we needed it (in our home community).

On top of this, the support that we have received as an employee on maternity leave from our "work family" has been amazing and so comforting.

Thank you for letting me share our story.

IMPACT Community Health Service provides health services for residents in the Discovery Coast region.